Amy Reed, June 2012. Connor is just a regular kid who gets along with his mom, dates girls about whom he has conflicting feelings, and befriends the zany Izzy at summer camp. Izzy refuses to talk on the phone, so when summer’s over the two of them are reduced to emails, and this is how their story is relayed to the reader. Putting aside how well-crafted the emails are, and how perfect the teens’ grammar and spelling is, their content is realistic and compelling. At first, Connor tries for a two-way conversation, but Izzy keeps yelling at him and ignoring his questions, and her emails eventually disintegrate into either bully pulpits for her views on life, as she maniacally writes down everything she’s trying to feel all at once, or cries for help as she descends into crippling depressions that last for weeks. Sometimes Connor can’t reach her at all and he worries but there’s not much he can do without her phone number.
Connor is the kind of quietly cool yet geeky kid that makes me want to make this book into a movie and cast Cameron from The Glee Project as the male lead. It was harder to get a good read on Izzy outside of the heartbreaking seesaw of her moods, but Connor is a Good Guy who eventually is able to contact her parents even though he knows Izzy might never speak to him again. I was terrified Izzy was going to die in the end, and I won’t tell you whether she does or not, but the degree to which I cared demonstrates how good Reed is at getting inside a character’s head. Highly recommended.
It’s also highly gay, considering that both leads are straight. Connor’s sister is a partnered lesbian having a baby. Connor makes out with a male friend just to give it a whirl. Izzy is straight but she wants to sleep with Pink. Connor’s girlfriend breaks up with him when she decides she’s gay. All of this is presented straightforwardly, just like the rest of the story, not problematized or stigmatized even within the book’s world. Yay.